Languages

The History of English in Ten Minutes

Where did the phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ come from? And when did scientists finally get round to naming sexual body parts? Voiced by Clive Anderson, this entertaining romp through 'The History of English' squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. Bursting with fascinating facts, the series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century.

Video
Spanish: espacios públicos Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages

Spanish: espacios públicos

Do you want to improve your language skills and communicate more easily and effectively in Spanish? This free course, Spanish: Espacios públicos, concentrates on Spanish as a tool for communication, but it also provides some insights into Hispanic societies and cultures through authentic printed and audio materials. This OpenLearn course focuses on public spaces and how to get by in a Hispanic city.

Free course
20 hrs
Beginners' Chinese free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages

Beginners' Chinese

Learn about Mandarin Chinese as a tool for communication and gain insights into Chinese society and culture. This free course, Beginners’ Chinese, provides a brief introduction to the Chinese language, its scripts and sounds, and how words are formed. You will hear short conversations where people greet each other, introduce themselves, describe where they come from and what they do for a living. You’ll hear them talk about their daily activities and order food and drinks in a restaurant. This OpenLearn course will be easily accessible for those with some basic knowledge of Chinese.

Free course
6 hrs
Why has English taken over academia? Creative commons image Icon ChristianMcCarthy under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license article icon

Languages 

Why has English taken over academia?

If English is globally squeezing out teaching in local languages, the fault isn't with the language but with economics. Anna Kristina Hultgren and Elizabeth J. Erling explain.

Article
Exploring languages and cultures free course icon Level 1 icon

Languages 

Exploring languages and cultures

Explore the multiple relationships between languages and cultures. In this free course you will learn about the benefits and challenges of meeting people from different cultures and the ways in which language and human communities shape each other. You will look at the role of intercultural competence at the workplace, reflect on the use of English as lingua franca in international contexts, and get a flavour of the skills involved in language-related professions such as translation and interpreting.

Free course
14 hrs
Sylvia Plath and the linguistics of depression Creative commons image Icon John Phelan under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Languages 

Sylvia Plath and the linguistics of depression

Could the type of language people use reveal something about their state of mind? A close reading of Sylvia Plath's journals suggest it might be possible.

Article
Language is collateral damage in the gig economy Creative commons image Icon FaceMePLS under Creative Commons BY 4.0 license article icon

Languages 

Language is collateral damage in the gig economy

As Deliveroo instructs its managers to avoid words that might make their team sound like employees, David Hann explores how some words have their own agendas.

Article